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U.S.

Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review

Board a/Immigration Appeals


Office of the Clerk
5107 Leesburg Pike. Suite 2(}()n
Falls Church, Virginia 20530

Greene, Jonathan 5., Esq.


The Greene Law Firm, LLC
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 420
Columbia, MD 21044

DHSIICE Office of Chief Counsel - BAL

31 Hopkins Plaza, Room 1600


Baltimore, MD 21201

Date of this notice: 11/25/2014

Enclosed is a copy of the Board's decision and order in the above-referenced case.
Sincerely,

OoYVU- C

o..n.A)

Donna Carr
Chief Clerk

Enclosure
Panel Members:
Greer, Anne J.
Pauley, Roger
Wendtland, Linda S.

Userteam: Docket

AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)

u.s. Department of Justice

Decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Executive Office for Immigration Review


Falls Church. Virginia 20530

File:

Date:

.NOV 252014
In re:
IN REMOV AL PROCEEDINGS
APPEAL
ON BEHALF OF RESPONDENT: Jonathan S. Greene, Esquire
ON BEHALF OF DHS:

Carrie E. Johnston
Senior Attorney

CHARGE:
Notice: Sec.

212(a)(6)(A)(i), I&N Act [8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(A)(i)Present without being admitted or paroled (sustained)

APPLICATION: Suppression of evidence; termination of proceedings: administrative closure

The respondent appeals from the Immigration Judge's April 17,2012, decision denying his
motion for administrative closure of removal proceedings. The respondent also appeals from the
interim decisions denying various motions he filed, including his motion to suppress evidence
and terminate proceedings.! The Immigration Judge granted the respondent's alternative request
for voluntary departure. The respondent's request for oral argument is denied. See 8 C.F.R.
1003.1 (e)(7). The record will be remanded.
We review findings of fact, including credibility findings, and (under the law of the Circuit
with jurisdiction over this case) determinations as to the likelihood of future events under the
"clearly erroneous" standard. See 8 C.F.R. 1003. I (d)(3)(i); see also Turkson v. Holder,
667 FJd 523, 529 (4th Cir. 2012); Matter of J-Y-C-, 24 I&N Dec. 260 (BIA 2007); Matter of
S-H-, 23 I&N Dec. 462 (BIA 2002). We review questions of law, discretion, or judgment, and
all other issues de novo. See 8 C.F.R. 1003.1(d)(3)(ii).
On appeal, the respondent argues, infer alia, that the Immigration Judge erred in declining to
suppress evidence that was obtained in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the
United States Constitution. In particular, the respondent asserts that the actions of Immigration
and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") agents in entering his home on June 30, 2008, resulted in an
egregious violation of his Fourth Amendment rights, thus warranting suppression of the evidence
obtained therefrom, which was submitted in order to establish his removability
The record reflects that the respondent's motion to suppress evidence and terminate
proceedings was denied on July 14, 2011; his supplemental motion to suppress evidence and
terminate proceedings was denied on August 11, 20 11; his motion to dismiss was denied on
January4, 2012; and his motion to vacate order was denied on January 24, 2012.
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)

(Respondent's Brief at 14-16). The respondent also asserts that, while the initial Immigration
Judge detennined that a Fourth Amendment violation had occurred, she erred in not pennitting
him the opportunity to testify in order to set forth a prima facie showing that the violation was
egregious (Respondent's Brief at 15-16).2
The "exclusionary rule" arose in the context of criminal proceedings and requires a court to
suppress evidence that is the fruit of an unlawful arrest or of other official conduct which violates
the Fourth Amendment. It is well-established that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule
generally does not apply in immigration proceedings. See INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.s. 1032,
1044-51 (1984); Malter o/Sandoval, 17 I&N Dec. 70, 77-83 (BIA 1979); see a/so United Siaies
v. Oscar-Torres, 507 F.3d 224, 229-30 (4th Cir. 2007).3 Even evidence that would not be
admissible in a state or federal criminal proceeding against an alien may be admitted in a civil
immigration proceeding to determine whether the alien is removable. However, such evidence
must comport with notions of fundamental fairness and cannot result from an egregious violation
of an alien's constitutional rights. See INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, supra, at 1050-51 (acknowledging
that the Court's holding is limited to the issue of admitting credible evidence gathered in
connection with peaceful arrests by Service officers, and does not reach egregious violations);
see also Matter of Toro, 17 I&N Dec. 340, 343 (BIA 1980) (stating that an egregious Fourth
Amendment violation may render evidence inadmissible under the due process clause).
A motion to suppress evidence must be supported by specific and detailed statements based
on personal knowledge and must enumerate the articles to be suppressed. See Matter of Wong,
13 I&N Dec. 820,821-22 (BIA 1971); see also Maller a/Ramirez-Sanchez, 17 I&N Dec. 503,
505 (BIA 1980); Maller 0/ Tang, 13 I&N Dec. 691, 692 (BIA 1971). Additionally, the movant
for suppression "must come forward with proof establishing a prima facie case." Maller of
Burgos, 15 I&N Dec. 278, 279 (BIA 1975). The submission of an affidavit alone is insufficient
to satisfy the movant's burden. See Malter 0/ Barcenas, 19 I&N Dec. 609, 611 (BIA 1988). In
The record reflects that the first Immigration Judge assigned to this matter issued the written
decision on July 14,2011 (signed on July 7, 2011), with respect to the respondent's motion to
suppress evidence and tenninate proceedings. Subsequently, the matter was reassigned to the
current Immigration Judge.
2

3 On appeal, the Department of Homeland Security ("DBS") argues that, in United Siaies
v. Oscar-Torres, the Fourth Circuit "held that it would not apply the Fourth Amendment
exclusionary rule in civil removal proceedings under any circumstances" (DHS Brief at 25). We
do not agree that the Fourth Circuit indicated that the exclusionary rule does not apply in
removal proceedings "under any circumstances." Rather, the Fourth Circuit appears to have
simply stated the general rule of Lopez-Mendoza, and not to have made a categorical,
unqualified statement. Further, the Fourth Circuit decision in United Siaies v. Oscar-Torres
relates to a criminal proceeding, and we are not persuaded that its discussion of the exclusionary
rule vis-ii-vis civil deportation proceedings constitutes anything else than dicta. Additionally, the
Fourth Circuit noted that it was '"not consider[ing] whether egregious violations of the Fourth
Amendment might warrant a suppression remedy where none otherwise exists." Uniled Slates v.
Oscar-Torres, supra, at 227 n.1 (citing INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, supra, at 1050-51). Accordingly,
we do not interpret the Fourth Circuit's decision as a mandate that suppression of evidence may
never be warranted in the context of immigration proceedings.

2
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)

that regard, where the facts alleged in the affidavit, if true, "could support a basis for excluding
the evidence in question, then the claims must also be supported by testimony." Id. If a prima
facie case is established, the burden then shifts to the DHS to justifY the manner in which it
obtained the evidence at issue. See id.; Matter o/Burgos, supra, at 279.
Upon de novo review, we conclude that the respondent is entitled to a hearing in support of
his m6tion for suppression of evidence. In that regard, we conclude that the statements in the
respondent's affidavit, if accepted as true, establish that evidence which he seeks to suppress was
obtained as the result of an egregious Fourth Amendment violation (July 14, 2011,
I.J. Decision at 3-5; Respondent's Affidavit, filed February 6, 2009). See Maller of Barcenas,
supra, at 611. The Immigration Judge properly determined that, based upon the respondent's
claims, the actions oflCE agents on June 30, 2008, in entering his home without either a warrant
or consent, and in the absence of exigent circumstances, violated "the Fourth Amendment's
prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures" (July 14,2011,1.1. Decision at II). Cj INS
v. Lopez-Mendoza, supra, at 1040 (observing that "[tJhe general rule ... is that statements and
other evidence obtained as a result of an unlawful, warrantless arrest are suppressible").
However, the Immigration Judge further determined that the claimed actions of ICE agents did
not amount to an "egregious" Fourth Amendment violation, where "the operation was carried out
during the daytime, [] was generally peaceful[,)" and "there [waJs no indication that the arresting
agents used excessive physical force or behaved in a threatening manner" (July 14, 20 II,
l.J. Decision at 11).
We do not agree with the Immigration Judge's analysis of the facts alleged by the respondent.
Instead, we conclude that the alJeged facts regarding the unlawful search and seizure, as set forth
in the respondent's affidavit, constitute an egregious violation of the Fourth Amendment. The
respondent asserts that he was apprehended by ICE agents after they burst open the front door of
his home around 6:00 a.m. and discovered him in his living room wearing only a towel (July 14,
2011, 1.J. Decision at 3). He states that he then stepped into his bathroom, attempted to put on
clothing, and locked the door; however, agents broke open the door and shattered a glass mirror
(July 14,2011, l.J. Decision at 4). He states that he was told to jump out of the bathroom and
was subsequently grabbed by a man with a gun, who twisted his arms behind his back, while
pushing his head down and placing him in handcuffs (July 14,2011, l.J. Decision at 4). The
respondent also contends that he was pushed against a wall after being questioned by agents in
broken Spanish (July 14,2011, I.J. Decision at 4). He asserts that, after he was escorted outside
his home, he asked if his sister could stay in the home with his son (who was then 1 year old);
however, he was told that his son would stay with Olga Lopez, who was another resident of the
home (July 14,2011, U. Decision at 4; Respondent's Affidavit). The respondent further asserts
tbat Ms. Lopez stated in Spanish that she would not be responsible for his son, but the ICE
agents did not seem to understand her (July 14, 2011, U. Decision at 4). The respondent
contends that he was then transported from his home in a van and was given a shirt, but was not
permitted to put it on (July 14, 20 11, I.J. Decision at 4-5).
We conclude that the foregoing factual allegations present a prima facie case that the ICE
agents did not conduct their operation in a "generally peaceful" or non-threatening manner (July
14,2011, 1.J. Decision at II). Rather, the respondent's account presents a scenario in which ICE
agents forcefully entered his home at an early morning hour and pursued him into his bathroom,
where he was not fully clothed (July 14,2011, U. Decision at 4). Moreover, based on the

3
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)

respondent's assertions, ICE agents used physical force both in arresting him and upon
questioning him (July 14, 2011, I.J. Decision at 4). Also, of significance to our inquiry is the
respondent's assertion that, after he was arrested, he was taken from his home and forced to
leave behind his young son, without knowing if the child would be in the care of a responsible
adult (July 14,2011, U. Decision at 4). Based on the totality ofihe circumstances set forth in
the respondent's affidavit, we conclude that the asserted Fourth Amendment violation (if proven)
rises to the level of an egregious violation sufficient to support a claim for the suppression of
evidence. See, e.g., Rochin v. California, 342 U.S. 165, 172-73 (1952) (indicating that "brutal
conduct," which "shocks the conscience" and "offend[s] the community's sense of fair play and
decency," constitutes an egregious constitutional violation); see also INS v. Lopez-Mendoza,
supra, at 1051 (citing Rochin v. California, supra.); Colzojay v. Holder, 725 FJd 172 (2d Cir.
2013).
Therefore, we will vacate the Immigration Judge's determination that the respondent did not
establish a prima facie case for suppression and remand the record for further proceedings with
respect to that issue (July 14,2011, 1.J. Decision at 12). To that end, we conclude that, because
the respondent's affidavit statements, if true, provide a basis for suppression, he must be allowed
the opportunity to testify in support of his claim in order to satisfy his initial burden in moving to
suppress. See Matter ofBarcenas, supra, at 611 ("Jfthe affidavit is such that the facts alleged, if
true, could support a basis for excluding the evidence in question, then the claims must also be
supported by testimony."). Further, the respondent should be afforded a reasonable opportunity
to cross-examine any witnesses presented by the DHS (see section 240(b)(4)(B) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act), and the Immigration Judge on remand should consider the
arguments in the respondent's appellate brief with regard to the taking of depositions, and the
issuance of a subpoena for the production of documents. As the record will be remanded for a
hearing concerning the suppression of evidence, we decline to reach the respondent's alternative
bases for challenging the decisions of the Immigration Court at this juncture. 4 See generally
Matter of S-H-, supra, at 465. Given that a suppression hearing will be held, the parties may
further develop the record on remand with respect to the issues otherwise raised concerning the
admissibility of the evidence presented in this matter.
Accordingly, the following order will be entered.

4 Insofar as the respondent challenges the denial of his motion for administrative closure, we
conclude that the denial was not in error (Respondent's Brief at 31-33). The record reflects that
the respondent sought administrative closure on the basis of "prosecutorial discretion" (Exh. 22).
However, the DHS declined 10 exercise prosecutoriill discretion in the respondent's favor
(Exh. 23). As only the DHS has authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion, the respondent
does not have a basis to pursue administrative closure. See Malter of Avelsiyan, 25 I&N Dec.
688 (BIA 2012) was unavailing.

4
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)

ORDER: The record is remanded to the Immigration Judge for further proceedings
consistent with the foregoing opinion and for the entry of a new decision.

FOR THE BOARD

5
AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 14120461. (Posted 12/4/14)